Unused ‘earmarks’ being re-directed into St. Louis area roads projects

A change pushed in Congress by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has redirected unused appropriations from old “earmarks” into about $20 million for transportation projects in the St. Louis area.

It’s part of about $72.6 million in redirected money statewide, taken from what McCaskill called “politicians’ pet projects” earmarked more than 10 years that never got spent.

It includes $3.5 million in pavement improvement from the St. Louis City limits to I-55, and “improvements along the reversible lane from east of Union to Broadway,” a document prepared by the Missouri Department of Transportation says. Another $500,000 will be used to improve Antire Road near Eureka, Mo.

McCaskill’s communications director, John LaBombard, said the money could not have been turned back to reduce the nation’s $19.3 trillion debt because “once the money was earmarked, that money could only be used for those specific earmarked projects.”

Almost $6 million will be redirected to current projects in St. Charles County, more than $9 million in Jefferson County, and $1.7 million in Crawford County, according to the Missouri DOT.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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